There’s a saying in Cajun households: First you put on a pot of rice, and then you decide what you will make for dinner.
My husband grew up in such a house, and there is nothing he finds more comforting than “rice and gravy” for dinner. There was a time when I thought that meant a long-simmered gravy made with the drippings from slow-roasted meats, but over the years he has shown me how to make quick dishes, such as shrimp fricassee with a roux-thickened sauce, in about 30 minutes. (I’ll share that recipe soon. I promise.)
Still, on a recent wintry night, I was the one with the craving. I wanted a rich brown sauce with beef spooned over rice, something I could eat with crisp bread and a steamed green vegetable, so I did a little experimenting with this one-pan number that features a fragrant, peppery rosemary sauce, finished with a classic French technique.
First, of course, I put on a pot of rice. My goal was that by the time the rice was finished cooking, I would be ready to spoon a rich gravy on top and dig in.
For this dish, the meat is quickly seared on all sides, so buy as tender a cut as you can, such as beef sirloin tip. Ask the butcher for something close to it, if you don’t see it in the case.
The juices from the meat are the start of your sauce, which is flavored with butter, shallots, rosemary and lots of pepper. For deeper flavor fast, I added a dash of Worcestershire sauce to a mixture of broth and red wine and, right at the end, fresh minced garlic.
The creaminess of this sauce comes from the classic technique called monter au beurre, in which you remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in butter to create a smooth texture, with a lovely sheen. If you have made beurre blanc, this is the same technique, but with a lot less butter and whisking.
It took a couple of tries to get this right, but the result was what I wanted: a fast, flavorful sauce with a touch of richness from that just-melted butter.
The recipe is easily adjustable. You can ramp up the heat or tone it down. Use fresh rosemary if you can find it, but dry will do. Don’t like rosemary? Try it with thyme. My husband loves white rice, but you could serve this over brown rice, quinoa, couscous or even riced cauliflower.
One-Pan Steak Tips With Rosemary-Pepper Sauce
Total time: 25 minutes
If you prefer not to use wine, increase the beef broth to 1/2 cup and add 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar with the broth.
Storage Notes: Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
1 pound beef sirloin tip steak, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or more to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, divided
1 small shallot (2 ounces), minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary (can substitute 1 teaspoon dry)
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup beef broth
1/4 cup medium-bodied red wine, such as pinot noir
2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
Cooked white or brown rice, for serving
Sliced scallions, for serving (optional)
Pat the beef dry with paper towels and sprinkle the salt on both sides.
In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until just smoking. Add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes for medium. Transfer the meat to a plate and tent it with foil to keep it warm.
Reduce the heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallot, rosemary, pepper and pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until the shallot is just softened, about 2 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, broth and wine, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Bring just to a simmer and cook until slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Add the garlic and stir to combine, about 30 seconds.
Turn off the heat and whisk in the remaining butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until well combined.
Taste the sauce, and season with more salt and/or pepper as needed. Return the steak to the skillet and turn to coat it in the sauce.
Serve over rice, with a sprinkling of scallions, if using.